This route was first forged by James Spencer and David Broddle in 2003. It does not have a full web site to support it but you can find James and Dave's route notes here. At the bottom note there is a summary of each section with the daily climb and a "Toughness Factor" to help guide you on how hard each is. However it is not clear if there are any technically challenging parts. Dave and James also make a note of where they stay - often there are many alternatives, but in some places (especially the north of Scotland) there may be only one source of accomodation for many miles; so check it out and book in advance.
The Sandstone Way is a 120 miles route between Berwick upon Tweed and Hexham along the Sandstone Ridge in North Northumberland linking numerous sandstone features, crags and outcrops. The route traverses through an amazing ever-changing landscape which is rich in history, geological features and iconic scenery.
It links numerous villages and small communities including Wooler, Rothbury and Bellingham. A range of accommodation is available at regular intervals.
The route requires a good standard of mtb skills, and uses a mix of existing rights of way of varies surfaces and widths interlinked by the minimum amount of quiet roads possible.
Visit the Site home page for more information.
This route travels from the north of Wales to the south via Cardigan Bay. It has been developed by Paul Rogers, and incorporates some of the classic Sarn Helen route, but with adaptations for accommodation needs and avoiding footpaths. The route starts in Conwy, and progresses down to Swansea via Aberystwyth largely off-road. It travels through both Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons so a good degree of fitness and ability is required: the route is not all “land-rover” track, and there are many technical sections. The most technical section is Brecon to Swansea, virtually all off road, most on marked sections of Sarn Helen, and quite knarly in places. Much of this can be bypassed though using the road from Ystradfellte to Glyn Neath and then the canal to Neath and onto Swansea.
There is no formal site for this route, you can download a GPX for the full route here.
There are other versions of Welsh north/south routes, and to see an alternative visit Mountain Bikes Routes UK who have a book for sale by Tim Woodcock. This route is more off-road and has some very technical sections.
There are many beautiful coast-to-coast routes in Scotland, and we have a couple in our collection. The UK4 route was mapped out by Paul Rogers and starts near Glenelg on the coast of Kyle Rhea, and makes it way to Fort William and the Great Glen. At Fort Augustus it turns east to travel over the Cairngorms and ends at Montrose on the east coast. The ride as a whole is a great experience in true cross country riding. It runs up and down glens, crosses the Scottish watershed , and takes you through many different sceneries and some very remote places. Be prepared!
The route is mostly off-road and on “land-rover” type tracks which can be ridden by those with technical skills suitable to blue grades at trail centres (though obviously with a lot more endurance required). However these are interspersed with some very technical “black” type sections:
- Day 1, the climb out of Corran and the descent into Kinloch Hourn is really difficult and requires a high degree of technical skill (“black grade”). A quote from Paul: “The descent is one of the steepest bits of track I have ever ridden and stayed upright”.
- Day 2, the Correyairack pass out of Fort Augustus runs to about 700m and although a reasonable surface, can be very difficult in bad weather. The alternative around the mountain is a very long ride on tarmac, close on 70 miles. The descent off the pass requires good technical skill as there are perhaps 30 - 50 drainage gullies to cross. Set your tyre pressures hard and take it steady. Red grade.
- Day 5, the climb of Mt Keen is tough and you should be prepared to push some or all of it. The route doesn't actually go over the summit, but on the shoulder just below it. The main descent is made up of quite large gravel/rocks and for the experienced mountain biker, is a lot of fun. Red/black .
There is no formal site for this route, so you can download a zip file containing GPX for the full route here.
Again, there is no definitive C2C, so for another version visit Mountain Bikes Routes UK who have a book for sale by Tim Woodcock. This has optional route diversions that will fit a variety of abilities.
The North Downs way is a beautiful route stretching from Dover to Farnham. The riding is rarely technical (though there are some!) and there are portions on tarmac. The route goes northwest from Dover, through Canterbury and then turns south to cross the Kent Downs toward the High Weald, both Areas of Natural Beauty. You’ll then travel north to the Surrey Hills, and on towards Dorking, Guildford and Surrey.
There is no formal site for this route, so you can download GPX for the full route here.
There are Route variants available. For one see Peter Edwards book here which also includes a link to the South Downs.
The North Wales Coast to Coast is a four day, 181 mile mountain bike route through the Cambrian Mountains, the Berwyn Mountains and the Clwydian Range. It follows the continuous chain of peaks from Aberystwyth to Prestatyn on challenging trails and quite country lanes. There are only a few short sections of main road to disturb the tranquillity of the ride. See the site created by Colin Down here for full gpx files and route notes.
This link route connects Sarn Helen to Lands End - John O'Groats, crossing the Welsh C2C on the way. It follows a scenic but sometimes technical route through Wales, and then uses the canal system to reach the Pennines largely off road. Many thanks to John Hanahoe who mapped out the route through Wales.
The South Downs Ridge line has been walked for thousands of years, and can still be enjoyed today as a walking and cycling path. Almost the whole route is bridleway and off-road. It will take you through rolling countryside, from Eastbourne to Winchester with plenty of support and facilities along the way. The route is described and documented in various sites. The main site is the National Trails which is in the link below, but you can also find information at Southdownsway.co.uk and at Bikedowns.
This link route takes you on a picturesque journey by some of canals and rivers of Sussex, and enables you to ride both the North and South Downs ways to make a more interesting journey. In fact this link route is a loop, so you have a choice of an east or a west link route. It uses parts of the Shipwrights way, the Basingstoke canal and the River Wey to make a mixed route that should be accessible to most abilities; but beware of a couple of steep (red ascents) that some may need to push. See Route notes for more.
Our thanks to Ted Gomm who mapped the route, wrote the route notes and provided the pictures to give you a flavour of what you'll see along the way.
This 7-stage ride from PedalNorth is no easy day ride. It is designed to take in some of the hardest but most enjoyable mountain bike tracks in the UK mountain biking scene. Be prepared for rocks, steep climbs, steep descents, wet feet; but it will be a great challenge. The team at PedalNorth have tried not only to link in great tracks, but also to ensure that there are reasonable opportunities to get the bike fettled and have a comfy stay and a beer. You should also be able to charge your satnav: but a back-up paper map and compass would be advisable.
You will also need to be capable, fit and independent MTB rider: in poor weather or following periods of rain, the tracks will be damp and in some cases very soggy. Tracks may be indistinct atop the higher fells and moorlands. You may be cold and tired and still having to traverse difficult terrain.
We do not have detailed route notes for this but overall it is Red/Black on the TT scale.
Note that the GPX files were produced post-ride, as PedalNorth like to ride with a map and compass first, so that they get to know the directions; as a result PedalNorth have invited updates on route conditions and any suggested improvements. Please follow the link to their site.
The Highland 550 is a classic bikepacking race held each year, with slightly varying routes. What we feature here is the summer version posted by Bikepacking.com, who also provide the route notes. Overall this route would be classed as a black route as it involves many difficult and remote stretches combined with long bike pushes and carries in some areas.
You should also visit the official race site at http://www.highlandtrail.net/ and note that they highlight one particular danger at the Fisher Field river crossing:
“One route alternate is available to avoid a potentially dangerous river crossing in Fisherfield. If you arrive at this crossing and feel that it is too dangerous to cross, you may back track to the road and go via the coast to Poolewe. There is no limit on the depth of the river, and it is up to the individual. Make wise and safe choices for yourself, regardless whether ten people have crossed before you.”
There is also a risk of being shot (presumably accidentally) during the deer stalking season July 1st to 15th February, and you are advised to check out http://www.deerstalkingscotland.co.uk.
This is one of the routes linking the 7 Stanes to eachother and to the wider network. It connects Glentrool , Kirroughtree,Dalbeattie, Mabie and Ae by a southerly route using mainly fire roads and quiet country roads. Even so a good level of fitness is required.
If you want to try the trail centres as part of a holiday and cycle to each rather than drive, then this is a great route to link up with some of the best of the 7 Stanes. Services are available in the many villages and towns, and it's not as remote as some of the more northerly and easterly routes.
Many thanks to Paul Harrison who rode and mapped this route.
This is one of the routes linking the 7 Stanes to eachother and to the wider network using large parts of the Southern Upland Way (SUW). It connects Glentrool Ae and Innerleithen, and then progesses on to the east coast at North Berwick. If you want to access Glentress, it's a short ride north from Innerliethen. And this route also crosses the Land's End to John O'Groats route (TTUK1). You can also join it with TTUK12a to make loops around the westerly 7 Stanes.
The route travels through some of the remote and beautiful hills of southern Scotland; but beware parts are difficult and remote, so you need to be capable, self-sufficient and well prepared. Some sections are graded Black for various reasons so make sure you read the route notes carefully.
Many thanks to Paul Ardin who rode and mapped this route.
This is another small link route connecting Newcastleton bike park to the 7 Stanes network and to the Land's End John O'Groats route. There is also a short spur off to the east to make a connection with the Sandstone Way. (Be aware that to do this we have had to fudge the satnav file so measurements of route distance shown on a satnav will be incorrect).
The riding is easy and non-technical, if a little remote at times. A reasonable level of fitness and good preparations will be required.
Many thanks to Luke Halstead who rode and mapped this route.
This route is mapped and supported by MTB Epics, and full route notes can be purchased in their book of the same name (see link below)
You can download detailed GPX files from their site.
A coast to coast route across the most northerly and remotest part of England.
Starting on the Cumbrian coast, this 208 mile route with over 18,000 feet of elevation gain will cross the Northern Lake District, Kielder Forest Park and Northumberland National Park to finish on the stunning Northumberland coastline.
Some of the many highlights en-route are Lonscale Fell, Hadrian’s Wall, The paved Border Ridge and The Usway Burn in Upper Coquetdale.
There are also two superb trail centre’s on this route – Whinlatter Forest near Keswick and the remote Kielder Forest trails.
All in all, this makes for a true wilderness ride, which links up with several other routes across the Borders, offering lots of opportunities for making your own epic circular routes!
This route is mapped and supported by MTB Epics, and full route notes can be purchased in their book of the same name (see link below).
You can download detailed GPX files from their site.
This is a fantastic mountain bike adventure along the south coast of England. From the rugged Atlantic coastline at Lands End to the white cliffs of Dover. A 426 mile route with over 30,000 feet of elevation gain, riding through Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, West and East Sussex and finally Kent.
Not for the faint hearted, this route is aimed at riders with some experience. The route is technical and in places, and some skills will be required but stamina and fitness are also important.
As with all ‘MTB Epics UK’ routes, ‘The Southern Way’ is all about a good variety of trails, places of interest and great scenery. Some of the many highlights include; The Poldice Valley, Dartmoor, Woodbury Common, The Purbeck Hills, The Isle of Wight and The South Downs. Also en-route are two mtb trail centres at Cardinham Woods nr Bodmin and at Haldon Forest near Exeter.
All of this will live long in the memory of anyone who rides ‘The Southern Way’.
It’s not a bike ride, it’s an experience!
This gorgeous coast to coast route starts and ends at a lighthouse, taking you from Aberdeen on the East coast to the most westerly point on the mainland, Ardnamurchan Point. The route crosses some high and remote terrain, often with no shelter from the weather, so suitable experience, equipment and navigation skills are necessary. There are limited services or supply points apart from at the overnight locations.
There are stops in Aboyne, Tomintoul. Kingussie, Fort Augustus, Fort William and Strontian, making a 7-day trip. Or vary to suit yourself.
Start at the lighthouse at Girdle Ness and ride through Aberdeen to pick up the former Deeside railway. Then head into the hills and loop to Aboyne.
Day 2 starts easily then climb steeply into wild country below Morven. It continues into the Cairngorm wilderness through Glen Gairn and a wild high pass at Loch Builg before descending to Tomintoul. There are no services or food stops all day.
Day 3 skirts the Caingorms through remote moors and forest to Speyside, following the Tour of the Cairngorms route. It continues on through the forests. There is almost no tarmac all day. Café at Glen More near where the route crosses the Cairngorm ski road.
Day 4 uses the Wade road to Etteridge (Beware! track from Etteridge covered in marbles), then heads to the high and very remote Correyairack pass and a huge descent. Café at the pottery near Laggan, then nothing until the end of the day.
Day 5 doddles down Great Glen on mostly easy tracks and roads. Café at Bridge of Oich.
Day 6 uses a wee ferry across loch Eil, then road before entering wild Glen Shiel. There is a long stiff road climb and descent to Strontian. No facilities on the route.
Day 7 uses wee roads, then links paths along the north coast of the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Some paths are not easy to find or ride but it’s worth it for fantastic views. Limited facilities at Acharacle.
As for getting there and back, you can take a sleeper to Aberdeen, and then return by pre-booked taxi from the Ardnamurchan lighthouse to Fort William.
Our thanks to Rob Smith for mapping this route out.